Education Endowment Foundation:EEF blog: A refreshed approach to regional partnerships – our partnership foundations in action

EEF blog: A refreshed approach to regional partnerships – our partnership foundations in action

Jo Goodman
Jo Goodman
Regional Delivery Lead – West Midlands and Central

The first blog of this series introduced our refreshed approach to regional partnerships, which focus on fewer, but more in-depth partnerships to address locally identified need. In this second part, Jo Goodman, our Regional Lead for the West Midlands, explains how we’ve been putting that approach into action in Worcestershire.

Blog •3 minutes •

It takes time to establish effective partnerships: to build relationships, agree shared priorities, and align activities. To support this, we’ve adapted our approach so that all partnerships begin with an Evidence Exploration Partnership, where partners work together to identify a priority that can be effectively addressed and develop evidence-informed solutions to collectively address it. At the heart of this collaborative approach is a focus on local need.

To date, 20 local authorities and multi-academy trusts across England have been involved in an Evidence Exploration Partnership. One of these is with Worcestershire Children First, who are being supported by Billesley Research School and Tudor Grange Research School to engage with the evidence base with the aim of improving outcomes for children.

Using data to identify priorities

The first step is to work with leaders to identify priorities that have the potential to have a big impact on pupil outcomes through a forensic analysis of local data. These leaders are also equipped to identify and co-construct appropriate, evidence-informed solutions and plan for effective monitoring and evaluation.

David Coaché, CEO of Bengeworth Trust

Building a strong foundation for partnerships

Our partnerships are designed to be:

  • Evidence-informed.
  • Aligned to the existing regional school improvement system, and,
  • Sustained, enabling us to build lasting capacity beyond the life of the partnership.

Drawing on research evidence and our experience of supporting schools to adopt evidence-informed practices and processes, we worked in collaboration with the Research Schools Network to identify the core components of successful partnerships. 

We then developed these into six foundations that underpin the delivery of Evidence Exploration Partnerships.


Putting the foundations to work

It’s been great to see these foundations come to life in our partnership with Worcestershire Children First. Many different actors have come together to agree a shared priority of improving literacy outcomes for all pupils. The partnership has capitalised on existing influence, expertise, and resources, so that our work complements, rather than competes, with other school improvement initiatives.

Lisa Bradbury, Worcestershire Children First

In addition to building a shared language and understanding regarding disadvantage, the Evidence Exploration Partnership aims to develop the capabilities for evidence use, effective implementation and sustained behaviour change,

Donna Evans, Headteacher at Westacre Middle School

Stephen Murphy, Headteacher at Malvern Wyche C of E Primary School

Across all twenty of our current Evidence Exploration Partnerships, it’s been exciting to see these foundations in action. It’s also been inspiring to work with school and system leaders who are committed to evidence-informed improvement and have given their time to ensure the success of these partnerships.

We are preparing for the second phase of Evidence Exploration Partnerships. To find out more see our guide to regional partnerships or contact your Regional Delivery Lead.